Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
Back in Phase 1, I created my list of 'Big Questions' to guide my research. This is Phase 2, where I will be contacting an expert to further investigate my topic.
The keywords that I used during my research were 'Flying Tigers.' I did end up adding a few words such as 'AVG' or 'Claire Chennault.' Most of my searches had the words 'Flying Tigers' in them because it is the basis of my research as well as my topic. If I had searched Claire Chennault alone, I would not have had a search as narrow as Claire Chennault and his work with the Flying Tigers. Same with 'AVG.' Obviously a search with just 'AVG' would be very broad and ineffective, so I added 'Flying Tigers.' I also did a few searches about WWII and the Chinese, American, and Japanese positions during the war, but only to get a sort of grasp of what was going on.
It is important while researching to make sure the information is valid. I think the websites I used were reliable, because I looked for the author and if that could not be found, I would look for the publisher and then decide whether or not I would use the website. I know that I listed Wikipedia and About.com in my sources, but I did not base my whole research off of those. Wikipedia was used simply to find what an acronym stood for. The About.com article showed the author as well as her past experience. For the websites that seemed somewhat questionable, I compared the information to the other websites and if they matched, then I would use that information. The publisher and/or author were easily found on most websites, all but Britannica and the Linden Centre. Encyclopedia Britannica was a source from the SAS Databases, and I have been taught to use it as a reliable, trustworthy source. As for the Linden Centre page, I assume it was written by one of the Lindens, and since they live in Xizhou and get to learn about the Flying Tigers firsthand, I think the information is valid.
Mr Heiferman sent me a response on 10 April 2014, a day after I sent the email. He gave me some information about the Flying Tigers in China as well as the interaction between the pilots and the locals. Here is the email Mr Heiferman sent to me:
Three-to-Fives are interviews with local Linden Centre staff and Mr Tafel and Ms Mai. They are three to five minutes long with three to five people. The purpose of these are to develop an extensive list of contacts that will help us find information about our topic.
My first three-to-five was with Mrs Linden. I chose to interview her because she has been in Xizhou for many years. My fellow Microcampus students suggested her to me because they said she knew a lot about history.
The second person I interviewed was Ms Mai, who is the cohead of Microcampus along with Mr T. She has been here several times with other Microcampus groups, and knows the locals in Xizhou. Ms Mai was able to give a brief explanation on the locals' life story and how they would be able to help me.
Mr T was my third interviewee, as well as head of Microcampus. I chose him because he has been to Xizhou numerous times, and is very familiar with the locals. He has also been to Xizhou many times with the other Microcampus groups.
- Mr Zhao, lives parallel to us (Linden Centre), whose family compound was the home of several radar/radio men
- The residents around the Zhao family compound
- Yang Aigan, security guard for the Linden Centre
- Yang Sumei, the head of housekeeping at the Linden Centre
- Yang Biaoqi, a horse cart driver
- Mr Duan, east village, former governor officer, close friend of T
- Mr Dong, a writer who is the author of a book on the history of Xizhou
- Mr Yang, a former lawyer (Cookie Monsters - Hannah's group's service learning partner)
- Mr Yang, a former chemist
- The elders at the retirement home
- Mr Linden, head of Linden Centre
- Frank He
Currently I have twelve contacts listed above, but I do not feel that I have enough contacts to keep me busy for the coming weeks, although it depends on how many elders in the retirement home are willing to talk to me. As for the other contacts, hopefully they can introduce me to others that will be an additional help to my project.
The Linden Centre library has a few Flying Tigers books, and I have checked out a book called "Flying Tigers" by Daniel Ford. It is an updated and revised edition of Ford's previous 1991 text, summarising the Flying Tigers' experience and story, with quotes from the AVG veterans. I have just started reading the book, but am looking forward to seeing what information I can get.
In this phase, I reflected on my Phase 3 research, contacted an expert, as well as developed a list of local contacts. Next is Phase 3: Interpreting Information, where I will be gathering information from local contacts and seeing how that information can help me, as well as looking back on the old information I had gathered and revisiting my Big 10 questions from Phase 1.